A winner is not typically a word used to describe the Sacramento Kings. However, it’s hard to not like what the Kings did last night. The Kings got their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox. Fox fits perfectly with the young core the Kings are building. Fox should be able to use his speed to penetrate the lane and kick out to shooters like Buddy Hield and Ben McLemore should they decide to re-sign him. I also love the Harry Giles pick. The Kings are nowhere close to competing so why not take a chance on a guy who was arguably the best player in this draft class a year ago? Chances are Giles doesn’t work out, but guess what, neither do most late first round picks. Giles gives the Kings the highest upside of anyone left on the board at that time and if he can regain the bounce he had when he was the best high school player in the country, watch out.
I wavered on including the Timberpuppies on the winner’s list. In one sense the team definitely got better with the addition of Jimmy Butler, but at the same time even they gave up young assets without becoming close to championship contenders. While Jimmy Butler definitely helps them on the court, what he is going to give the Timberwolves in the locker is unquantifiable. Having a strong veteran presence like Jimmy who buys into Thibs defensive minded system will be huge. There are certain members of the Timberwolves who are immensely talented but don’t always apply themselves on the defensive side of the ball (looking at you Andrew Wiggins). That shit isn’t gonna fly on Jimmy Butlers watch. Jimmy got his start in this league being a defensive specialist and he’s going to bring a level of professionalism to the Timberwolves young core.
Markelle Fultz is the last piece of the process. Simple as that. The Sixers needed a point guard and Fultz is not only the best one in this draft but also the best fit with the team the Sixers have in place. The Sixers did not need another big man and the 2018 NBA draft is loaded with them. Losing the Lakers pick next year doesn’t hurt them, and is well worth the sacrifice to get a player with the upside of a Markelle Fultz.
In one sense the Chicago Bulls took a step forward in the draft. They FINALLY picked a direction for the franchise. The worst thing that can happen to an NBA franchise is getting stuck in the middle. Being stuck in the late lottery or consistently sneaking into the playoffs only to get eliminated in the first round. This territory is where the Bulls have resided for the last few years. Despite management accepting that tanking and playing the young guys is the best direction for the franchise Bulls fans have to be disappointed in the return they received for a top 15 players. In return for JIMMY BUTLER, a player who Bulls fan insist is an elite NBA player they received; Kris Dunn a player who definitely has upside if we are being honest was absolutely horrific last year. Zach Lavine a player whose game is based on freakish athletic ability is coming of a major knee injury. To add insult to injury they didn’t even get Minnesota’s first round pick straight up, they had to give up their own pick to move up seven spots. There were times where Jimmy Butler was going to get a Brooklyn Nets pick and more coming back to Chicago in return. Knowing what the price used to be for Jimmy Butler and was received in actuality has got to hurt Bulls fans.
The Celtics aren’t losers because of missing out on Jimmy Butler or not making a move for Paul George. The Celtics clearly feel that they have a good chance at Gordon Hayward and it doesn’t make sense on spending all your assets on an all-star small forward when you think you can acquire one without giving anything up. The Celtics are losers because they missed on Markelle Fultz. Danny can say all he wants about how Jayson Tatum was the best player on his board but Markelle Fultz was the best player in this draft. Unless Danny’s master plan ends up in a championship watching Markelle Fultz score 20ppg in the division for the next decade is going to be pretty tough to watch.
Portland didn’t nail either of their picks. Caleb Swanigan is fine in the late 20’s but I am not as high on Zach Collins as a lot of people are. Not only did Collins not even start on Gonzaga, He didn’t start in high school until his senior year! Besides the mistakes, they made with their picks they were unable to unload any of the bad contracts that they have. (Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, Etc…) Much like the Bulls were before this draft the Trailblazers are firmly planted in the no man’s land of the NBA.